PORTLAND, ME—Derek Friese, 30, has been looking forward to a Friday coffee date with ex-girlfriend Kelly Lessing all week, sources reported Monday.
"It sure will be nice to see Kelly again," said Friese, whose three-year relationship with Lessing ended Aug. 6. "She said she doesn't have a whole lot of time, but I'm just glad we're getting together to check in. It's less than 72 hours away now. Let's see, about 68 hours, actually."
The date, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Norm's Coffee Shop, located two doors down from the clothing store where Lessing works, will mark the first time Friese has seen his ex in more than a month.
"When Kelly and I split up—a decision that was mostly mutual—we decided we wanted to stay friends," Friese said. "Honoring that promise is really important to me. I'm sure it's important to her, too, hopefully."
While many consider post-breakup dates to be an unpleasant chore, that is not the case with Friese.
"Even though we're broken up, we still care about each other," Friese said. "How could we not? A love like we had doesn't disappear just because we're not together anymore. We still want to be in each other's lives."
Friese said he would have met Lessing for coffee sooner, but they had trouble getting in touch, playing "phone tag" for nearly two weeks.
"I'd get home after work and find Kelly had returned my message, but then when I'd call her, she'd be out," Friese said. "Somehow, she always called my work number after I'd already left. My cell number is the same as it's always been, but I guess she lost it."
As the date approaches, Friese has been making efforts to ensure that he puts his best foot forward. In addition to getting a haircut and buying a new shirt, he has given his apartment a thorough cleaning, just in case Lessing decides to drop by.
"If Kelly needs to borrow a book or something, I don't want this place looking horrible," Friese said. "I guess I could always bring the book down to her, but she might insist on coming up and getting it herself. Not that she would want to come up for anything more than that—we're definitely over."
Friese has also been preparing potential conversation topics for the get-together. While watching CNN last Sunday, he made a mental note to ask Lessing about wildfires in her home state of Oregon.
"That's not really the part of Oregon where she's from, but I still should ask if everything's okay with her parents, who still live there," Friese said. "I was really close with her parents, especially her mom. She was great."
Continued Friese: "I also have to remember to tell Kelly about the Mexican festival at the Civic Center this weekend. Kelly was a Spanish major in college, so she might want to go. Maybe if she doesn't want to go alone, I could offer to go with her as a friend."
The date, which will be sandwiched between the end of Lessing's work day and her 6:45 p.m. yoga class, is unlikely to last more than an hour. Nevertheless, Friese said he relishes the opportunity to catch up with his "new old friend."
"I don't want to bring up any of the old garbage," Friese said. "I just want this to be a good time. We're going to get coffee, sit back, relax, talk, have a few laughs, maybe even exchange a friendly hug. It's going to be great."
Friese said Lessing is sure to be interested in what is going on in his life, too.
"I need to remember to let her know that my sister is having a baby," Friese said. "Kelly always liked Pam. When I called Pam and told her I was seeing Kelly, she told me to say hi."
Alyssa Neilson, a mutual friend of the former couple, said Friese's anticipation is growing by the day.
"Derek seems pretty excited," Neilson said. "He's casually mentioned to me that they're meeting for coffee at least 10 times, twice in the last 24 hours. Funny, Kelly never mentioned it at all."